Anat Cohen played her first ever UK gig last night at Pizza Express Jazz in London. The final concert of her quartet's European tour played to a full house that was left wanting more after two brilliant sets of
compositions mostly taken from her current album - Claroscuro, which she explained means clear and dark, just like the music!
This was a world class quartet with Jason Lindner on piano, Daniel Freedman on drums and Joe Martin on bass. The evening opened with a rousing version of Artie Shaw's Nightmare, a thumping, threatening tune with Anat setting the standard for the evening with warm and deep to cool and high playing of the clarinet and later the saxophone and more than ably supported by her quartet. This is the same quartet that played on the afore named latest album and the playing was tight indeed with lots of smiles and laughter, some apparent mind reading between Lindner and Freedman in particular and a very democratic approach from Anat, with lots of long and lovely solos from her boys.
There was a bit of a Brazilian theme to the evening with Pixinguinha's Um A Zero and Lo and Marcio Borges Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser being well received - the latter being my favourite of the evening together with an astonishingly long, varied and beautiful version of La Vie en Rose (which you can hear by clicking on the video below) which included some reggae influenced piano! This Edith Piaf classic was also the source of a little humour with Anat explaining it was a number she had written herself...laughs all around. Still in a Latin mood, she treated us to Siboney, a classic Cuban number, this time from an earlier album - Notes from the Village, again with a good long work out featuring some great solos from each of the quartet.
This was a great first London gig from Anat Cohen and hopefully the first of many. Ms. Cohen comes from an illustrious musical family. Her brothers - Avishai (trumpet) and Yuval (saxophone) are also extremely accomplished musicians. I had the pleasure of seeing Avishai perform in Paris last December as part of Omer Avital's ensemble, so now I only need to hear Yuval play and I've met the whole family! Together as 3 Cohens, they have recorded three albums - One, Braid and Family - all well worth checking.
Although resident in New York these days, Anat Cohen is one of a growing number of world class Israeli musicians, including the other Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital, Shai Maestro, Ilan Salem, Eli Degibri, Daniel Zamir and a whole lot more who are producing some of the most refreshing and innovative jazz around at the moment and several of whom are performing in the UK. Lucky us.
PS. Thanks for the autograph Anat!